Egypt has arrested an Israeli man on suspicion of spying and of trying to recruit Egyptian youths to act against the authorities after President Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow, sources and the state news agency said on Sunday.
But Jerusalem claimed Sunday that the report was unreliable. “Once every month or two such a report comes out. It is a groundless report and very unfortunate that people want to maintain such a hostile and negative image of Israel,” an official source from the Foreign Ministry told Ynet.
Judge Hesham Badawi of the supreme state security prosecution ordered the man to be detained for 15 days on suspicion of “spying on Egypt with the aim of harming its economic and political interests,” MENA news agency reported.
A judiciary source said the man was arrested on Sunday. MENA said the man worked for the Mossad. It named him as Ilan Goren.
Detention orders of 15 days are often renewed in Egypt if further questioning is deemed necessary.
One judiciary source said the man had been active in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolt against Mubarak, after the former president stepped down.
“He was there on a daily basis inciting youths towards sectarian strife. He was distributing money to some of them,” the source said, adding he had been encouraging some youths to clash with the army. He said youths reported the man’s actions.
The detention may add to tensions raised by a row over the halting of Egypt’s gas exports to Israel after a pipeline blast and Cairo’s easing of restrictions at the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, which Mubarak had kept very tightly controlled.
Officials at Egypt’s Foreign Ministry could not be reached for comment, and the Foreign Ministry said it was not aware of the case.